WHAT EXACTLY IS PILATES? Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that
combines stretching and strengthening into a complete workout. The balanced blend
of strength and flexibility creates long, lean muscles without bulking up. Pilates
first concentration is on strengthening and stabilizing the "powerhouse" (the abdomen,
back and pelvic girdle, and buttocks). Pilates also engages the mind to allow simultaneous
movement of many different muscle groups at the same time. The focus is on quality
of movement therefore less reps are needed. Pilates takes a balanced approach so
that no muscle group is overworked, and the body works as an efficient, holistic
system in daily life.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PILATES? Pilates takes time to learn,
but the benefits are endless and include: Improves strength, flexibility and balance Tones
and builds long, lean muscles without bulk Challenges deep abdominal muscles Engages
the mind Enhances body awareness Creates efficient movement patterns to prevent injury Reduces
stress and relieves tension Restores postural alignment Promotes recovery from strain
or injury Increases joint range of motion Improves circulation Improves neuromuscular
coordination Relieves back pain and joint stress Balances overused and underused muscles Enhances
stamina Compliments sports training Improves ones mind, body and spirit
WHO CAN DO PILATES? Everyone,
from young to old, from injured to elite athlete can do, and benefit from Pilates.
Pilates workouts are individualized for the needs of each person. The exercises were
designed to be adapted and modified for its participants whether they need to rehabilitate
an injury or be challenged in a deeper way.
WHAT'S BETTER, MAT OR EQUIPMENT PILATES
EXERCISES? It's not a matter of one being better than another. They are simply different.
The fundamental Pilates mat workout is your body working and resisting against itself.
It increases strength quickly. However, the various equipment pieces such as the
Reformer, Cadillac and Chair incorporate light spring resistance that help to safely
stretch the muscles, and isolate challenging muscle groups. The equipment allows
for deeper stretching, and provides an element of variety. A combination of mat workouts
with equipment workouts is the ideal.
WHY ARE PERSONAL TRAINING SESSIONS WITH A CERTIFIED
PILATES INSTRUCTOR EXPENSIVE? Pilates instructors are highly trained professionals
who have invested hundreds of hours studying the technique. They learn over 500 exercises
for both the mat and Pilates equipment. They learn the philosophy and theory behind
each movement, spend considerable time observing and mastering proper form and sequences,
and apprentice to fine tune their teaching skills prior to taking a rigorous written
and practical exam. They learn more than just a series of moves, they learn how to
assess their students' posture, how to adapt exercises for various body conditions,
and how to customize the optimum Pilates program for each individual. In addition,
instructors also have continuing education courses each year. This kind of specialized
training, combined with the expenses of furnishing a fully equipped studio, commands
the price tag.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A PILATES INSTRUCTOR? Ideally your Pilates
instructor should be certified through a comprehensive Pilates training program,
comprised of lectures, observation, practice, hands-on apprenticing plus a written
and practical examination. This level of training is especially important if you
are going to be working out on any of the specialized Pilates equipment - some courses
only cover mat exercises while others educate trainers in the full range of apparatus.
Find out if your trainer is educated in handling clients with specific injuries or
body conditions that might warrant a modified approach. Also, look for a trainer
who has, in addition to Pilates training, taken anatomy courses. A professional instructor
should make good use of visual, verbal and tactile cueing to ensure students are
exercising with proper form and technique. Whether you are working out in a group
setting or one-on-one personal training, make sure your Pilates instructor is confident,
knowledgeable, responsive and personable so you can have a safe and effective experience.
BEWAREof "teachers" on the Pilates bandwagon, those who have been "certified" in a weekend,
studios that teach group equipment classes, and large mat classes (more than 12 students).
I GET AN EFFECTIVE WORKOUT WITH PILATES VIDEOS OR BOOKS? No, personal instruction
with a Pilates professional is the only way to learn correct form, and ensure you
will not get injured. Many Pilates movements look simple, but are subtle, deep and
challenging. Muscles groups can be difficult to isolate without individual direction.
The smallest adjustment in positioning can make the workout effective. That being
said, books are full of information about the exercises. Many are also comprehensive
in anatomy, which only benefits your workout. Books can compliment and refresh your
brain after a workout. The more you understand the ideals and limitations of a movement,
the better you will be at performing it.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO PILATES? Generally,
2 to 4 times a week is ideal, however, you will feel your body differently even at
one time per week. Regular and consistent practice will help you make the mind-body
connection and integrate the various Pilates principles.
IS PILATES A CARDIOVASCULAR
WORKOUT? This is often debated in the Pilates world. Beginning Pilates students will
not get a great cardio workout. There are many exercises to learn, and that takes
time. However, once one knows the routine, and has achieved proper form engaging
all muscles correctly, they could speed up a workout to achieve cardio gains.
I LOSE WEIGHT THROUGH PILATES EXERCISES? In essence, Pilates exercise is not a cardiovascular
workout and burning calories is not it's main focus. However, Pilates does build
muscles, and increases metabolism, which aids in weight loss. Pilates also reshapes
and lengthens bulky muscle for a slimmer physique. Alternating Pilates workouts with
cardio work such as brisk walking or swimming, is the most efficient way of achieving
WILL PILATES HELP ME WITH MY KNEE/SHOULDER/LOWER BACK PAIN? Pilates seems
to be quite effective with rehabilitation and post-rehabilitation. It is often said
that Pilates is a bridge between physical therapy and physical fitness. A Pilates
workout is gentle and controlled with no hard impact to your body. Certified instructors
can create a workout to meet your physical limitations, and can continually challenge
you as your pain improves.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR? Students should wear comfortable clothes
in which you can easily move. Loose shorts are not recommended. No shoes are worn
during Pilates, but clean socks are required on the Pilates apparatus for health
HOW SOON WILL I SEE OR FEEL RESULTS? Results are felt immediately in many ways.
One way is your body, in particular your abs. The second way is through body awareness
in how you move in your daily activities.
HOW IS PILATES DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FITNESS
REGIMENS? Pilates incorporates the entire body, mind and spirit. It is a gentle and
effective form of exercise that combines eastern and western principles of mental
awareness and physical vitality.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A BEGINNER CLASS? The basics
of the Pilates system teaches you about the position, alignment and movement of every
part of your body, and how these parts are interconnected and work with each other.
Pilates also focuses on postural correction and alignment awareness. Overall, you
will notice increased energy and stamina after participating in a Pilates regimen.